Guzman y Gomez (GYG) has appointed Hilton Brett as co-CEO alongside founder and CEO, Steven Marks, effective immediately.
Brett comes to the role with 11 years experience as the co-CEO of the $850m ASX listed Accent Group (recently renamed from RCG Corp).
Accent Group owns franchise and company-owned retail formats including The Athletes Foot, Hype DC and Platypus. The business also handles the Australian distribution and vertical retailing for brands such as Sketchers, Vans, Dr Martens and Timberland.
In this role he led the company in delivering total shareholder returns of more than 25 per cent CAGR.
Since April 2018 Brett has been an operating partner at global investment firm TDM Growth Partners, GYG’s largest shareholder. He has served as a non-executive director on the GYG board.
He will leave his TDM position to take up the GYG role.
Hilton Brett announced as GYG co-CEO
Marks co-founded the Mexican fast-food chain nearly 17 years ago and has been CEO since 2006.
Earlier this year he announced he would appoint a new CEO to lead GYG into its next phase.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to announce Hilton Brett is joining me as co-CEO,” he said.
“Hilton has been on the board of GYG for the last five years so his knowledge of GYG’s business model and our company culture didn’t need to be taught or learned. When he joined us in a full-time capacity as acting CFO four months ago, he immediately knew what needed to be done and got to work.
“The most important thing for me was finding a co-CEO who would bring in the skills we needed for the next chapter of growth for GYG. Hilton has public market CEO experience, he’s scaled businesses and he knows finance, real estate, operations, procurement, legal and HR.”
Hilton Brett will lead finance, IT, HR, legal, real estate and investor relations. Steven Marks will retain food, marketing, operations and the US. Each will have a line of sight into all departments.
GYG prepares for an ASX listing
Marks said Brett’s experience as a co-CEO will be invaluable as the brand innovates, expands in the US and prepares for an ASX listing.
“We trust one another implicitly which is important in any working relationship but particularly one like ours where we’ll be working so closely.
“Hilton is an outstanding executive and co-CEO and I know our franchisees, leadership team, Hola Central teams and investors will join me in officially welcoming Hilton to the role.”
Brett has spent 25 years running retail businesses before taking up the TDM Growth Partners’ role, and non-executive directorships.
“It had to be a really special and unique opportunity to get me to become a CEO again,” he said. “GYG’s restaurant economics are some of the best in the world. We have at least 800 more restaurants to roll out in Australia alone which gives us an unbelievable growth runway for many years to come.
“The opportunity to be part of this was too good to say no to.”
GYG recently reported a 32 percent lift in global network sales to $759 million in FY23.